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New York Giants 2016 NFL free agency grades: That depends on who you ask

Free-agent spending spree still getting mixed reviews

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NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said Wednesday that he and his staff "felt like we were recruiting again in college" when the team pitched Olivier Vernon on the idea of joining the Giants organization.

The Giants won the recruiting battle for Vernon, added defensive tackle Damon Harrison, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul, and added middle linebackers Keenan Robinson and Jasper Brinkley for good measure in an unprecedented spending spree.

McAdoo and the Giants are thrilled with what they accomplished, though there is much more to be done to fix a team that has had three straight losing seasons.

"I think there’s a great buzz in the building. You have to credit (general manager) Jerry (Reese) for the vision. The support of the ownership is huge; the Mara family, the Tisch family. (Assistant GM) Kevin Abrams was grinding out the contracts, he did a great job," McAdoo said Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. "And then the coaches for the evaluations, and going through and recruiting these guys up and letting them know how they fit in. It was a great couple days for us."

Back when the first wave of signings occurred, yours truly gave each move "Kudos," saying GM Jerry Reese "did the right thing" and "did what he had to do" to jump start a franchise that really doesn't have time for a complete tear down and rebuild. Others aren't so sure.

Walter Football gives the Giants a "C" for their work and says that the "horrible contracts" the team gave Vernon, Harrison, and Jenkins will cripple the franchise in the long run and that only a Super Bowl appearance over the next couple of years will justify the spree.

Pro Football Focus gave the Giants a B- and said "no team has gambled more" than the Giants.

There is no doubt that the Giants’ roster looks to be in better shape now than it did before free agency opened, but they spent huge to make that happen, and each player has a major red flag when it comes to projecting success.

The view here is that PFF is correct that the Giant have gone out on a limb, and that Walter Football's view that the contracts are "horrible" is also understandable. In terms of the long-term ramifications of the deals, though, we just have to wait and see how things transpire on the field.

I am still more inclined to take the view of Pete Prisco. The CBS Sports columnist gave the Giants an "A," but said "I love what they did, but was it out of desperation for Jerry Reese?"

Massive free-agent splurges on an annual basis are not the right way to build a winning team. I have said before, however, that this was a year where the Giants had no choice. Yes, the Giants have taken a huge risk. There was also, however, a huge risk in not being so aggressive. Reese's job and the remaining prime of Eli Manning's career could be in the balance, so this was -- and still is -- no time to be cautious.